Wednesday, June 29, 2011

A dose of common sense

About 5 years ago I was talking with my nephew and said that I could not marry. He was genuinely shocked. He did not realize that laws prohibited same-sex marriage. It made no sense to him. I believe his reaction reflects the predominant view of his generation. They ask the same question he did, "Why? That makes no sense."
As marked by the increasing number of states voting in favor of gay marriage, lawmakers are finally realizing it makes no sense.
New York was interesting in that a Republican dominated legislature voted in favor of marriage equality. They made sense in terms of their principals as they explained why. Supposedly deep rooted conservative Republican values drive toward less government intervention in our lives - less regulation. I also respect their helping religious groups feel less threatened by offering protection from being forced to conduct gay marriages. In reality, that amendment was probably not needed but it helped legislators get beyond the religious issue.
We need to watch. It's no secret that the Republican party has been held in a choke hold by evangelical Christians. They may share fiscal conservatism but the approach on social issues is a bit odd.
Christian conservatives have latched onto Gay rights and Women's rights. Their objective is to eliminate or highly regulate the rights of both gays and women. They want to eliminate abortions but in the process, work to de-fund the best program in the world for eliminating unplanned pregnancies - Planned Parenthood. "Why? That makes no sense."
If it's all about ensuring that Christian values are part of our government, that's not constitutional. And then I would ask why other Christian values are not part of the agenda. What about feeding the hungry? What about healing the sick? Conservative Republicans are working to eliminate funding for widespread programs to serve these needs. Is that a Christian value? I think not.
If, across the board, the conservative position is that the government not intervene in peoples lives, I can respect that position. I may not agree, but it makes sense. But what they do has to be consistent.
I have a very difficult time with the idea of mixing religious values and views with government. Despite how the Tea Party wants to re-write history, that's not how this country was founded nor intended to be. We need a big dose of simple common sense, an awareness of common good, and an ability to walk a mile in someone else's shoes.

Saturday, June 18, 2011


I am a deeply spiritual person. Perhaps an old soul trapped in this new body without the right words to express what I believe.
Truth is all around us. But often we are trapped into some sort of tunnel vision - unable to see - or unwilling to see. We hear but cannot hear. We see but cannot see.
Words - thoughts - prayers - are powerful things. What we speak - what we think - what we dwell upon have great power. And we have been told of such power. "God said, 'Let there be light', and there was light." There is a lesson there that we miss so very often. What we say - what we think - what we dwell upon - has a consequence. IT IS. It becomes.
We do not choose our words carefully. We say things we do not mean. We dwell on things we do not really want to become. Then we wonder why they actually do "become".
They become because we speak them. They become because we think about them. They become because we dwell on them. We underestimate our power to create the world we really want.
We need to speak what we really want. We need to think about what we really want. We need to dwell on what we desire.
This is the power of "God". This is the universal truth. This IS.

Monday, June 6, 2011

the Little Thorny Plant that Became...

Last Friday, returned to me, was a framed calligraphy of a poem I wrote nearly 25 years ago. It was a gift from a young woman whose name is sadly forgotten but whose story is not.
I was leaving as Director of the Volunteer program under which the Exchange Club Parent/Child Center ran. The Parent/Child Center matched trained volunteers with parents, usually single mothers, who were identified as "at risk" of child abuse or neglect. The volunteers became mentors and advocates, aiding these young parents in working through the system and working their way past the issues causing such risk. It was an amazing program. In the short time I was involved there were great stresses but there were also great joys. This young woman and her mentor were great inspirations. I remember the volunteer's name - Barb Nash. She was a most dedicated volunteer and saw this young woman's potential. She was an advocate, a surrogate mom and a cheerleader.
Each Parent/Child Center volunteer promised two years of service. Barb's parent was less than 20 years old and had 5 children to 5 father's as I recall. At the beginning of the program she had little hope and little vision for the future. With Barb's coaching, the young woman began to see her own potential. When this young woman did this calligraphy for me, she was nearly completing an associates degree at a community college and about to become a Parent/Child Center Volunteer herself.
Barb was this poem's voice - the one who said....

"The Little Thorny Plant That Became - by Linda Henderson

Once there was a little thorny plant that was scorned and mistreated. Nearby plants threw dirt on it, ignored it or said mean things to it. The little thorny plant grew weak and droopy.
One day a kind soul passed by. "Why are you so sad?" The kind voice asked. "I am just a worthless, thorny plant," the little one said. "Pay no attention to me."
"Oh No," the kind voice said, "Inside you hold great beauty."
But the little thorny plant did not believe. So, the kind voice returned each day carrying water, nurturing the soil and speaking softly of the great beauty inside.
After a while the thorny plant began to feel different. It stood stronger and taller. Then one day there was great excitement in the kind voice.
"Look! Look!" the kind voice said and pointed to the little plant's reflection.
The little thorny plant could hardly believe it's eyes. Right up top, a hundred times bigger than any thorn, was a beautiful white rose. A feeling of great peace came over the little plant. Though the thorns were still there, it did not matter. Now the little plant knew, inside all along, was a rose just waiting to bloom."

Looking at the calligraphy, I know the young woman's initials were KEH. Somehow I know in my soul, she is continuing to do good things. I am thankful to look at this poem she made for me!